Labour is under attack from a “ruthless Tory machine” that wants to put it “out of business” leading backbencher Dan Jarvis warned this afternoon.
The former Shadow Justice Minister, touted by many as a future leader of the party, made the comments as Labour gathered for its first conference under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Speaking to Huffington Post UK’s Executive Editor of Politics, Paul Waugh, at a fringe event, Mr Jarvis spelt out the dire future waiting the Labour Party if it did not unite against the Tory government.
The former Army Officer preferred to label the Conservatives as “opponents” rather than brand them as “the enemy”, but did not hold back in his view of the challenge ahead for Labour.
The Barnsley MP said: “As a party we are under attack. We are up against a ruthless Tory machine.
“It was a ruthless Tory machine that outfought us, outgamed us, outplayed us, outspent us at the General Election.
“They comprehensively defeated us. But that is not enough for them - they want to put us out of business. That’s why they are going after the trade union funding, that’s why are looking to rig the constituency boundaries.
“They are coming for us, and if we don’t stand united together we face a very real threat of them putting us out of business and we can never, ever, allow them to do that.”
Mr Jarvis admitted that in the wake of Ed Miliband’s resignation after the General Election defeat, he did consider standing for the leadership but decided against it for family reasons.
He appealed to the party to not fight amongst itself after the surprise leadership election of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn.
Some MPs from the centre and right wings of the party faced abuse from Corbyn supporters on social media, and were dubbed ‘Red Tories’.
Focusing on the Conservatives, Mr Jarvis said: “They are our opponents and if there is one message that comes out of this Labour conference it’s we should remember who our opponents are.
“It’s not people in this room or in this hall, they are this Tory government that are seeking to inflict the most penalising series of policies on millions of people around the country.
“David Cameron has never persuaded me why he’s the Prime Minister, so I can only conclude it’s about being the prime minister rather than about seeking to deliver is idea of social justice for the country.”
Mr Jarvis confirmed he had not been offered a job by Mr Corbyn in the shadow Government, but was enjoying the freedom of serving as a backbencher.
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